2012-01-06 / Letters

Not An Urban Myth

Dear Editor,

The White Pot Junction railway line always comes across like an urban myth in Rockaway because we just can’t believe that there was a time in the not so distant past when you could get on a train on Beach 116 Street and arrive in Manhattan 40 minutes later. That’s pretty unbelievable, but what’s crazy is that the same commute could easily be restored and not one of our elected officials even mentions it.

To get it done you’d have to upset a good number of our Queens neighbors in Forest Hills who have the railroad easement behind their houses. They would prefer and are pushing for a bicycle path or nothing at all.

I feel for them. I mean, I’d like JFK to fly all its traffic away from Rockaway and leave us in peace. But everyone knows that’s not going to happen. We and the communities surrounding JFK shoulder the burden of frequent jet noise because the City’s need for the airport trumps our desire for quiet. Our compelling need is reasonable mass transit access to the rest of the city. The preferences of a couple of hundred people are no match for a greater good for so many.

So why haven’t our politicians run with such an obvious winner? I don’t know. If Marty Markowitz was our man we’d have our 40 minute commute AND an amusement park already. There probably isn’t another major city in the world that has the chance to create a new mass transit line through densely populated neighborhoods without having to destroy one house. And the expense of restoring the rail line would be laughably small, especially compared to the Mayor’s new pet project extending the No. 7 train under the Hudson for the convenience of New Jersey commuters.

Until April last year Forest Hills had a powerful assemblywoman who probably scared our local pols to death. Now they have a rookie just like us. For once, how about one of our representatives getting up on their hind legs and getting something good for Rockaway.

This would be a genuine big deal...not a heavily subsidized, occasional ferry, but a regular, viable train line that could get you back and forth to Manhattan faster than driving.

It would change everything. We need it, we deserve it and the benefit to thousands and thousands of NYC residents far outweighs the wish for a bicycle path or the NIMBY objections of a few people who knew there was a railroad in their backyard before they bought in.

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